Horses To Follow » Arctic


Mentioned here after he won a listed race at The Curragh at the end of July, Arcitc is worthy of another mention after he landed the Round Tower Stakes back at The Curragh on Sunday. There was an awful lot to like about this performance. Smartly away from stall six under Pat Shanahan, he was always prominent out in the centre of the track. He held a definite advantage at the two-furlong pole and, from there, the result was never in doubt. He had never been beyond five furlongs before, but he saw this six-furlong trip out well even on the really testing ground, actually appearing to get stronger as the race progressed and finishing really well, which is hardly surprising for a half-brother to a Queen’s Vase winner. Indeed, you could easily argue that the main surprise is that he had the speed to win his first two starts over the minimum distance.

This was a really solid effort on form. The runner-up, the Ballydoyle colt Air Chief Marshal, was beaten just a half a length by his stable companion, the highly regarded Alfred Nobel (as short as 10/1 joint favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas in places) in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes over the same course and distance and on similar ground on his previous run, and he beat him easily, by over four lengths, in a good time. The Tracey Collins-trained colt obviously handles these testing conditions well, given that the listed race that he won at The Curragh at the end of July was also run on heavy ground, but he won his maiden at Bellewstown on good ground, and his trainer says that we won’t see the best of him until he has better ground. He is in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury in two weeks’ time, and he would be interesting if he took his chance in that. He would also be interesting if he took up his Dewhurst Stakes engagement in October. You can hardly aim any higher as a juvenile colt, but Arctic deserves his place among the best of them, and he shouldn’t have any difficulties with the seventh furlong. He may be under-rated in the UK, given that he doesn’t hail from one of the most fashionable yards, but odds of 25/1 about him for next year’s 2000 Guineas are big.

30th August 2009

© The Irish Field, 5th September 2009